David Thomson’s Suspects is a very clever book written by a renowned film critic who went to the same school as P.G. Wodehouse and Raymond Chandler and, at times, it is as funny and stylish as both of those writers’ work. It consists of a number of short biographical sketches of characters from Hollywood films from the 1930’s up to the 1980’s. Chinatown’s Jake Gittes, The Killing‘s John Clay, American Gigolo‘s Julian Kay, Sunset Boulevard‘s Norma Desmond. And many more.
But Thomson gives us more than this. He gives the characters back stories. He tells us what happens to them after the film ends. And he weaves their lives together. This is a dark world where characters are ‘ only inches from the gutter‘. The future that Thompson gives Kay Corleone is incredibly bleak, for example.
From Bedford Falls to LA, Suspects is a heady journey across Hollywood’s glittering and bloodstained landscape.